Associated Industries of Massachusetts has joined an organization working to strengthen the New England defense industry in the face of increasing military demands for advanced technology.
AIM will become a regional partner of the Defense Technology Initiative (DTI), a Waltham-based collaboration that grew out of regional efforts to insulate military Bay State installations from the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process. DTI sponsors research intended to promote access to, and investment in, New England’s defense and security assets.
The defense industry remains a cornerstone of the Massachusetts and New England economies, but defense contractors face uncertainty as the federal government looks at a sustained period of budget contraction. Announcement of the AIM/DTI partnership comes a day after The Boston Globereported that Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford is set to lose three-quarters of its funding for contract workers.
“AIM is pleased to be part of DTI and its work to support a defense industry that employs more than 115,000 people in Massachusetts alone,” said Richard C. Lord, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIM, who will sit on the DTI Regional Advisory Board.
“And those jobs are just the start of the economic benefits provided by defense companies. These contractors also disseminate many of the new technologies that will form the basis of economic growth in Massachusetts and New England during the next decade.”
An AIM study last year found that Massachusetts ranks fifth nationally in Department of Defense contract awards and seventh in contracts from the Department of Homeland Security. Payroll generated by Bay State defense companies, from giant first-tier suppliers to smaller manufacturers up and down the supply chain, now stands at a record $8.93 billion. The industry generates more than $3 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments struggling with fiscal emergencies.
The partnership will allow AIM member companies to join DTI at a reduced rate. DTI members gain access to strategic discussions with members of the New England congressional delegation and to proprietary research on defense-related economic trends in the six-state region.
“DTI welcomes AIM and its 6,000 employer members. DTI exists because New England must adopt a collaborative, cross-border, cross-political party strategy to stabilize and strengthen its share of Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security federal investment,” said Christopher Anderson, President of DTI.
Anderson said the convergence of technology-heavy defense contractors and major research universities in New England gives the region distinct advantages for Department of Defense mission requirements. The challenge, he said, is to ensure that companies, universities and political leaders continue to work together to preserve that advantage.
AIM members interested in supporting DTI and taking advantage of the discounted membership may contact Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org